Fiber has become a hot topic in recent years. With the changing of the American diet (as well as many other countries in the world) many people consume less fiber then their ancestors did.
Our busy, hectic lifestyle has changed the way we eat. For many people, processed “convenience” foods are replacing well balanced meals. The meals we eat are much higher in carbohydrates, fats, chemicals, fillers, additives and calories then generations before us.
It is no wonder that diabetes, hypertension and a host of other illnesses are becoming much more commonplace…even with all of the advances in medicine in recent years.
A common question people often ask is, “How much fiber should I eat each day?”
The answer to this may surprise you. According to the American Dietetic Association, healthy adults should consume at least 25 grams of fiber each day.
Sadly, the average adult consumes 10 grams or less per day.
Children should consume their age plus 5 grams per day. For example,
a 6 year old should consume 11 grams per day. (6 years + 5 grams)
So increasing your daily fiber intake should be one of your health goals, if you don’t already consume a minimum of 25 grams.
But it is necessary to caution you that you will want to increase your fiber intake gradually. If you increase it by too much, too quickly, you may experience temporary cramping, gas and bloating.
It is also important to note that when you increase your fiber intake it is also important to drink more water too. This can help reduce cramps and can help your body more easily process the fiber.
Although there are some quality fiber supplements available from your local grocery store or health food market, the best way to increase your fiber is by eating natural, whole foods.
Another common question that people ask is, “How do I know how much fiber I am eating right now?”
The truth is that it is difficult to calculate exactly how much fiber you are ingesting each day. Doing so would require weighing your food and/or referencing a food chart.
The other option is to simply guess.
That’s why I recommend a much easier approach to reach your fiber intake goals.
Let’s assume that you eat an average diet right now, and therefore consume the average amount of fiber…10 grams or less each day.
Instead of trying to count, just make it a point to eat more fiber rich foods at every opportunity you get.
So instead of eating a processed, junk-filled snack, have some fruit or vegetables instead. Indulge in some nuts or trail mix instead of a candy bar, or have vegetable juice instead of coffee.
This approach has served me well for many years. Those that I have shared it with say it is much easier then trying to second guess everything you eat.
Just by eating high fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, cereals and whole grain pastas, it is relatively easy to reach the 25+ gram per day target.
Here are some specific examples of high fiber foods you can eat every day:
– Whole wheat breads and whole wheat pasta
– Broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and celery
– Apples, bananas, oranges and berries
– Green beans, pinto beans, black beans
– Almonds, walnuts and cashews
– Tomato, peppers, onions and garlic
– Brown rice or other whole grains
– Lettuce, raw spinach or other leafy green vegetables
The added benefit of eating these foods is that they contain vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to function at optimal levels.
If increasing your fiber intake is one of your health goals (and it should be) then consider adding these foods to your diet – and watch your health – and your energy level improve.
Skip the candy bar, fancy coffee drink or processed snack and have a piece of fruit instead. It is better for your health…and better for your wallet too.